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There’s a quick 222MB we can recover. Too bad we have to do it manually.
Spring Cleaning assembles a bunch of tools for organizing your Mac. Most are specialized, such as searching for a specific file type, and most often you’ll be disposing of unused files afterward. Sometimes the tools are exactly what you need—and simple to boot. But more often, Spring Cleaning presents a needlessly complex set of options or just duplicates functionality already built into OS X.
At its core, Spring Cleaning searches for specific files. In its main application, an array of two dozen tools looks for specific things: Movie Finder looks for video files; Archive Finder searches for compressed items; Document Finder identifies files by application; Image Finder looks for graphics. A few surprises appear, such as AccessMonitor to find items by date used and Duplicates Finder to identify extra copies of files. Other than those few extras, most of this functionality is already built in to Spotlight.
But beyond Apple’s default search tool, Spring Cleaning adds a few useful library comparisons; Music Finder and Image Finder reference search results against your iTunes or iPhoto library (but not Aperture). With that in mind, we quickly located files that weren’t in those respective programs and then added them.
We used Spring Cleaning to scrub iTunes even further after first consolidating its library. That internal iTunes action copies all music to its default Music Folder directory system, but disassociates songs in their current locations. So we just searched again for songs that weren’t in the iTunes library, but then erased them this time.
We thought we’d trim files even further with the Duplicates Finder, tracking down 273 items with duplicates that were 1MB or larger. However, we could have spent hours manually picking apart the results; there’s no automated method for weeding out the ones you need. Instead, we just skimmed for big items—hundreds of megabytes or more—and left the other duplicates intact.
And while the interface allowed us to enter more complicated searches and exclude certain folders nested within our search folder, we had to set those advanced parameters before beginning. Want to omit results from a single folder after completing a 15-minute search? Want to otherwise limit the search results, such as looking for only those 200MB-or-larger items? Instead of taking seconds to refine the initial results, you have to start all over.
Another handful of tools add different disk maintenance and repair options. Most of these seem thrown together, either duplicating the function of another OS X tool or overreaching the tidy-up theme of the software. Spring Cleaning is too light to be a disk repair utility, yet FileChecker finds damaged items, Permissions Fixer restores those settings, and Spotlight Index Rebuilder recreates Apple’s search tool profile. While these kinds of tools run wide and shallow, a couple are useful. File Sorter organizes a folder with new nested folders, based on file types. Secure Delete Free Space makes sure that anything you’ve previously deleted is unrecoverable, but OS X already offers similar options.
Spring Cleaning’s everything-to-everyone approach yields only a few useful tools out of about three dozen total. And its weak organization leaves the interface segmented; why have separate tools for archive and disk image searches or for finding music files and podcasts, when a single tool with a little more flexibility could make more sense.On a messy hard drive, we located more than 20GB of items to toss, mostly duplicated music and movies. But Spring Cleaning is so disorganized, we’re not sure we could put it into regular rotation.